After missing Christmases left and right for the last few years, I finally had the chance to spend this holiday season at home.
Christmas Eve was a kaleidoscopic mix of six families, coming together like fireworks, under a grand old house. The food was never-ending, the turkey big and proud, the alcohol flowed in abundance, and dozens of different conversations blossomed all at once. Small gifts went around to all the children and the unmarried, me included.
By midnight, everyone was warm and cozy in their respective homes, dreaming away wrapped safely in food comas and fuzzy feelings.
I woke up to the clinging and clanging of pots and pans and chopping boards from the kitchen. T’was Christmas! My parents were busy busting out their beloved dumplings. We may be celebrating a Western holiday, but we weren’t about to abandon our Chinese traditions.
My father kneeling the dough. My mother sculpting the stuffing. Both carefully nurturing the little dumplings to life. All morning long, they were at it. After the cloud of flour finally dissipated, steaming plates of white puffiness came rolling out of our kitchen. My father’s savoury, tangy and spicy dipping sauce sauntered up to the dining table in proud accompaniment of the little pockets of delight. Our family, our elderly neighbour, and another family came together to rejoice the day.
The warm sounds of my home reached a crescendo by this lunch, as we chirped and chatted about light-hearted matters, and kept filling each other’s bowls with mountains of delicious home-made bundles of joy. By one o’clock, the noise tapered off. Everyone retreated back to their warm cocoons to hibernate for the afternoon, to let dreams digest away the mid-morning meal, and to restore energy for more merry and cheer this evening.
And so it was, the night of Christmas. The dark skies arrived early as usual, but it didn’t matter, we had family and friends to maintain the light.
The world became quiet. Everyone huddled around their loved ones, to love and be loved. To dine, to laugh, to give and to rest.
Most importantly though, they were all gearing up for the next day to come. Because we all know that Boxing Day is like the Hunger Games. All those well wishes and happy holidays gone right out the window along with that lady trying to get at your discount iPhone 6S. Plus.
It feels good to be home.
Happy holidays to all, and may all have a safe and bloodless Boxing Day.